Janelle Monáe - 'Dirty Computer'

9/10

Since her career kicked off at the start of this decade, understanding Janelle Monáe has been a tough ask to say the least. Despite a clear interest in the commercial pop world, her albums to date have been a swathe of controlled concept records exploring her own obsession with sci-fi and all things intergalactic. Yet after five years away from music to focus on her budding film career, the frontwoman is back as just herself on this extremely personal third full-length 'Dirty Computer'.

With the arrival of this album, Monáe also made the announcement that she is in fact pansexual, in order to add some context to the lyrics on this new release. Not only does that mean we are treated to love stories about all genders, but we also hear a more vulnerable side to her strong and empowering place on this record. At times, we hear her struggling to accept her place in the world and ultimately are treated to a truly exposed artist who is allowing everything on show for the very first time.

She may have hidden behind stories and concepts her whole career, but hearing the real Janelle Monáe makes for a truly incredible listen. The production is on point and her voice soars with the confidence of a woman who is finally free from herself. An inspired and bold return from one of the true modern greats.

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